This is, as you haved guessed, the enhanced version of IndyCar Racing. If you have never heard of it, this game is a very realistic racing simulation of the Indycar '95 season, including all the drivers, cars and bodywork layouts, and tracks of the past season. You can choose among fifteen different tracks, some to your liking, others maybe less, but that is what the season is made of. Very different tracks indeed! For example I'm a big fan of Laguna Seca, it's a great track with lots of banked curves and many overtaking possibilities. The Loudon in New Hampshire is a classic oval track bordered by a wall, but is in fact quite easy. The Cleveland race takes place on a track designed on a airfield. This was my first time on such a track. No banked curves, no walls to guide you, and nowhere to go, it is in fact very hard and surprising. It is important on any other track that you know where you are and where you are going.
OK, but is it a great game? I really think so, this game is one of the most realistic driving simulations I've ever played. At first I had a few problems adjusting from Indycar 1.0 to Indycar 2.0. The car handling in the curves was tricky and I couldn't make the same lap times as I did in the first version. This time I had to really brake before entering the curves and make sure that my power-sliding didn't turn into a spin out. It wasn't very necessary in the first version, you could turn your steering wheel at full speed without going straight into the wall or spinning. Don't even think about trying it in this version. My opponents also had to brake before entering curves, so even if I couldn't make the same lap times, I've already won a few races. This added reality shows itself in many ways. There are the usual options such as random weather, but you can also have car breakdowns. Tricky, isn't it.
For the people who already know Indycar and Nascar Racing, this game is an enhanced version of Indycar with all the interesting features of Nascar Racing. This means that you have the complete paint kit studio, in which you can paint your car, the other cars, your team clothes, and you can even customize the design of your crash helmet. Of course you can choose from a large selection of sponsor stickers, flaming designs, and others to decorate your car. The cars degrade slowly due to slight bumping with the wall or an opponent. You'll suffer minor damages that are visible but won't alter the handling of the car. If your contact is too strong, the damages will modify the condition of your car which, if you are lucky, can be fixed at the next pit stop. Unfortunately some accidents are fatal to your car, like engine damage, wheel damage, etc. This means that you have some latitude in the accident, but this is not a demolition derby. Once in a while it is nice to watch other cars crash with flying bits and pieces everywhere, smoking tires and dented bodywork (so long as it is not happening to you).
To keep the game fast and adapt it to your computer, all you have to do is decrease the frame rate and abandon some of the details. The game has been optimized for a Pentium and can be played in SVGA mode with crystal clear graphics and amazing speed, even with a less performing video graphic card. A Papyrus' Multiplayer Service will allow you with a simple modem to play against two to 31 other human players.
The pitstop is complete and you can change almost everything on your car to optimize it for your driving style. Of course if you are not very good at mechanics, you can always load the pre-defined tunning such as easy, fast, qualification, etc.
With a completely new presentation of the dashboard, the possibility of driving your car from above and multiple camera replays to watch your daring overtaking attempts (successful or not), IndyCar Racing 2.0 is a very complete driving simulation.
I nearly forgot to mention the stereo sound which has digitized effects with a very nice motor roaring (not a deafening power-drill sort of sound).
If you are looking for fast cars, you are going to spent many hours with this tremendous game.
People who downloaded IndyCar Racing II have also downloaded:
Nascar Racing, IndyCar Racing, Nascar Racing 2, Grand Prix 4, NASCAR Racing 2003 Season, Grand Prix Legends, F1 Challenge '99-'02, Grand Prix 2
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